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PS Vita

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken


Format: PS Vita
Ratloop Asia
RRP: £9.99
Click here to buy
Age Restrictions: 12+
Available 13 February 2013

What’s a chicken to do when injustice is rife in the world? For Hardboiled, the chicken on steroids, the answer is simple: kick butt. Hardboiled is a freedom fighter to his core and so accepts the mission to infiltrate Albatropolis, a land under the iron flipper of the penguin overlord Putzki...

Rocketbirds: Hardboiled Chicken is a side scrolling shooter from Ratloop Asia, which has been previously released for the PC, with its transition to the PS Vita Ratloop has taken the opportunity to update the game.

Review imageIn the game you play across fifteen levels as Hardboiled, a chicken with a past and a reason to hate tyranny. Arrayed against you is an army of penguins intent on stopping you reaching your target. But fear not providence is a fine thing and you find a number of weapons along the way to help your cause, including a pistol, a shotgun, a machinegun and on the harder of the two settings a rather large knife.

With these to back him up, Hardboiled spends a lot of time working his way round the enemy camp and dirigibles. Of course, up close and painful isn’t always the best way to attack, so hardboiled gets his hands on grenades and a rather nifty brain controlling device, perfect for those times when you’re stuck on the wrong side of a door which only opens from the other side and guarded by the enemy.

The story is very much a tongue in cheek affair, with humorously animated inserts to help you along the way and a powerfully loud soundtrack provided by New World Revolution, if you like it you can even purchase the album.

The environmental backgrounds are well detailed, but the actual characters are cartoonish in look. It suits the game and goes someway to offset the gore displayed when any of the penguins are killed. Although essentially a side scrolling game you can, and indeed need to, revisit previous screens in your quest for particular objects, like door keys.

Review imageMobility is then both back and forth as well as up and down, there are boxes to climb, or hide behind as well as an assortment of access tunnels. There are differing environments, with atmospheric lighting, to traverse, in your quest to get the penguin and a small nod to a 3D experience, as along the way there are indented parts of the wall which you can take shelter in, if the shooting gets a bit too hairy.

The changes made for the PS Vita is the ability to move the environment, slightly, by moving your games machine around. It doesn’t actually add anything to the game play, as most of the time you're too busy ducking, rolling and killing to wonder at the small amount of difference it makes to the game. Secondly, you can now aim your grenades by use of the back plate. It’s a nice idea, but I found this arrangement unnecessarily awkward, it would have been more natural to have used the front touch screen.

The other thing that did concern me, having played the PC version on a large screen, was would this translate well to the relatively small Vita screen? The answer is yes and no, for the main meat of the game size is not a problem as the characters are sufficiently big enough not to have to strain your eyes to make them out. Where the screen makes a difference is in air combat, where both you and the bad guys are too small to make out any real detail.

Review imageThat said, given the type of game, which is very much a pick up and play affair, each level should only take about ten minutes, it’s ideally suited to casual game playing on the Vita. There is a co-op option, where you can play with a friend, either in the same room or across the internet, but there are no game servers, so if you have no mates you won’t get to play this option.

For the casual trophy hunter, another nice thing about the game is that although there are two difficulty settings you can pick up the platinum on either level.

Overall I liked the game better on the Vita than I did on the PC, a handheld seems to be its more natural home. The addition of a couple of more characters and the general polish that the game has undergone makes it well worth a look.


Charles Packer

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